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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Costume Exchange

Thanks to Christy from Pepin for this guest post!

Every fall families would come into the Pepin Public Library and socialize with each other and the conversation would turn to “What are your kids going to be for Halloween?”  They would then talk about costumes that they had and would be willing to give to each other.  Each family always had that one costume that no longer fit any of their children and their friend’s children didn’t want.

This got me thinking that maybe the library could be a place where unwanted costumes could come and find new homes.  Thus was the beginning of the Halloween Costume Exchange.  Flyers were made and distributed and tickets were printed.    Families were told that they could drop off any costume for any age or size.   These costumes would then belong to the library to use for the exchange and if any costumes were not used they would be donated to a local charity at the end of October.

Families had several options to choose from when dropping off a costume.  They could do a straight up one for one exchange – drop off one; take one home.  They could drop off a costume and take a ticket to be traded for a costume anytime in October.  This worked for families who didn’t see anything when they came in, especially if they were some of the first to drop off a costume.  Near the end of the program families were able to make a monetary donation to the Friends Group and then just take a costume home without having to provide a costume.  All of these options were used.  In addition some families just made a donation of a costume without taking one. 2013 was the first time we attempted this and we had 6 families do some type of exchange. 

We started to accept costumes the third week of September to have some on hand for the beginning of October.  The first two weeks of October preference was given to families who had costumes to do an exchange or redeem tickets.  The last week before Halloween anyone could get a costume by any method.  We accepted costumes throughout October.The few left over costumes were then given to the local community assistance organization or kept at the library to be available for the children to play with. 


Tickets were created in Publisher using a business card template.  We had some blank business card sheets that we printed on and then tore apart.  We wanted something more substantial than regular typing paper.  Printing on card stock and cutting apart would achieve the same result.  We also dated them so we could do this again in the future without worrying about another year’s unredeemed tickets emerging.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Record Crowds for Fire Circus in Cameron!

This past weekend, the Cameron Public Library held their Summer Library Program wrap-up, with a performance by the Fandazzi Fire Circus.  A whopping 447 people (maybe more) attended!  This would be a tremendous turn-out in any city, but Cameron is a small town!  More than a quarter of the population turned out for the festivities.

Here's what Dawn, the library director, had to say:
To promote, I distributed signage to the post office, local grocery store, Senior Citizen's Center and the local bank.  The bank advertised it on their digital marquee.  There were also signs at the library, we posted it on facebook and our website.  Rice Lake, Barron and Chetek libraries advertised for us, as well.  I sent it to all of the local papers, including Cameron's newsletter.  In May, all of the children at the elementary school received our programming schedule when I took a week to make school visits (this was planned with the school library).  Last but not least, we had a kids' program (the Zany Inventor) on Monday that attracted 77 children (also awesome attendance for us) and we reminded them to come to Thursday's family program (the Fire Circus).  Other than that, it was on our voicemail outgoing message. 
I highly recommend the Fandazzi Fire Circus.  They kept in excellent contact with me, were very specific about meeting our needs (they contacted me a few times to find out what kind of music we wanted, the nature of the program, etc.) were reasonably priced (they cost us $624), offered to help us secure a fire permit, send info for the press, the crowd loved them, they cleaned up after themselves AND they cleaned up after the crowd - our park pavilion was spic and span.  They do have seven people and a live band (they write their own music) in the troupe, but four and the band went to another engagement.  Having just the three performers and programmed music was in no way detrimental to the performance. It is likely that more performers and the band would cost more.


While they were preparing between "acts,"  they offered information regarding fire safety (for the sake of safety,  they will absolutely not tell anyone what they are using for the fire-breathing), provided personal information about themselves (one was a Dr. of Physical Therapy, etc...), talked about the special insurance (clown insurance) that they have to have, and other educational information.  We selected the gypsy experience for our program, and they provided historical and other super interesting information about gypsies. They do offer whatever theme you want from country-style to hip hop programming.  We had an outdoor fire performance, but they also offer programs using led lights.